Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Part 1 Complete Works, Volume Six

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 60

mankind. He can
admire strength, beauty, abundance, in themselves; but must find no
merit therein,--the chemical progress and the strife of the elements,
the torments of the sick person who thirsts after recovery, are all
equally as little merits as those struggles of the soul and states of
distress in which we are torn hither and thither by different impulses
until we finally decide for the strongest--as we say (but in reality
it is the strongest motive which decides for us). All these motives,
however, whatever fine names we may give them, have all grown out of
the same root, in which we believe the evil poisons to be situated;
between good and evil actions there is no difference of species, but
at most of degree. Good actions are sublimated evil ones; evil actions
are vulgarised and stupefied good ones. The single longing of the
individual for self-gratification (together with the fear of losing it)
satisfies itself in all circumstances: man may act as he can, that is
as he must, be it in deeds of vanity, revenge, pleasure, usefulness,
malice, cunning; be it in deeds of sacrifice, of pity, of knowledge.
The degrees of the power of judgment determine whither any one lets
himself be drawn through this longing; to every society, to every
individual, a scale of possessions is continually present, according to
which he determines his actions and judges those of others. But this
standard changes constantly; many actions are called evil and are only
stupid, because the degree of intelligence which decided for them was
very low. In a certain sense, even, _all_ actions are still stupid;
for the highest degree of human intelligence which can now be attained
will assuredly be yet surpassed, and then, in a retrospect, all our
actions and judgments will appear as limited and hasty as the actions
and judgments of primitive wild peoples now appear limited and hasty to
us. To recognise all this may be deeply painful, but consolation comes
after; such pains are the pangs of birth. The butterfly wants to break
through its chrysalis: it rends and tears it, and is then blinded and
confused by the unaccustomed light, the kingdom of liberty. In such
people as are _capable_ of such sadness--and how few are!--the first
experiment made is to see whether _mankind can change itself_ from a
_moral_ into a _wise_ mankind. The sun of a new gospel throws its rays
upon the highest point in the soul of each single individual, then
the mists gather thicker than ever, and the brightest light and the
dreariest shadow lie side by side. Everything is

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Text Comparison with Thoughts out of Season, Part I David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer - Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

Page 1
Secondly, the Editor wishes to dissuade the student from beginning the study of Nietzsche by reading first of all his most complicated works.
Page 13
" He tells us in _The Will to Power_: "All is truth to me that tends to elevate man!" To this principle he was already pledged as a student at Leipzig; we owe every line that he ever wrote to his devotion to it, and it is the key to all his complexities, blasphemies, prolixities, and terrible earnestness.
Page 15
Can we picture him, then,--a young and enthusiastic scholar with a cultured love of music, and particularly of Wagner's music, eagerly scanning all his circle, the whole city and country in which he lived--yea, even the whole continent on which he lived--for something or some one that would set his doubts at rest concerning the feasibility of his ideal? Can we now picture this young man coming face to face with probably one of the greatest geniuses of his age--with a man whose very presence must have been electric, whose every word or movement must have imparted some power to his surroundings--with Richard Wagner? If we can conceive of what the mere attention, even, of a man like Wagner must have meant to Nietzsche in his twenties, if we can form any idea of the intoxicating effect produced upon him when this attention developed into friendship, we almost refuse to believe that Nietzsche could have been critical at all at first.
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In his social intercourse he ought to realise the origin of his manners and movements; in the heart of our art-institutions, the pleasures of our concerts, theatres, and museums, he ought to become apprised of the super- and juxta-position of all imaginable styles.
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"We Germans are of yesterday," Goethe once said to Eckermann.
Page 44
It is true, however, that people of a certain age cannot possibly understand Kant, especially when, in their youth, they understood or fancied they understood that "gigantic mind," Hegel, as Strauss did; and had moreover concerned themselves with Schleiermacher, who, according to Strauss, "was gifted with perhaps too much acumen.
Page 45
Here optimism has for once intentionally simplified her task.
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For instance, while discussing one of the most intricate questions in natural history, he declares with true ancient pride: "I shall be told that I am here speaking of things about which I understand nothing.
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II.
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In the path of every true artist, whose lot is cast in these modern days, despair and danger are strewn.
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Examined closely and without prepossession, Wagner's life, to recall one of Schopenhauer's expressions, might be said to consist largely of comedy, not to mention burlesque.
Page 87
The mission they have chosen is not of the noblest; they have rather been content to secure smug happiness for their kind, and little more.
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than adequately Orientalised, begins to yearn once more for Hellenism.
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Let us regard this as _one_ of Wagner's answers to the question, What does music mean in our time? for he has a second.
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He will realise how every danger gives it more heart, and every triumph more prudence; how it partakes of poison and sorrow and thrives upon them.
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That is why the nature foreordained, through which music expresses itself to this world of appearance, is one of the most mysterious things under the sun--an abyss in which strength and goodness lie united, a bridge between self and non-self.
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" These were his questions in Tannhauser and Lohengrin, in these operas he looked about him for his equals--the anchorite yearned for the number.
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How flat and pointless every effect proved under these circumstances--more especially as it was much more a case of having to minister to one quite insatiable than of cloying the hunger of a starving man--Wagner began to perceive from the following repeated experience: everybody, even the performers and promoters, regarded his art as nothing more nor less than any other kind of stage-music, and quite in keeping with the repulsive style of traditional opera; thanks to the efforts of cultivated conductors, his works were even cut and hacked about, until, after they had been bereft of all their spirit, they were held to be nearer the professional singer's plane.
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It were well to wait until these very critics have acquired another spirit themselves; they will then also speak a different tongue, and, by that time, it seems to me things will go better with the German language than they do at present.
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He is one of the very great, who appeared amongst us a witness, and who is continually improving his testimony and making it ever clearer and freer; even when he stumbles as a scientist, sparks rise from the ground.